Romance of
Three Kingdoms

by Luo Guanzhong
circa 1300-1400

Online fifth edition - 13000+ reader notes

Play Online Game

Web Three Kingdoms

Translated by
C. H. Brewitt-Taylor

Edited by
Snow N. Snow

Commentary by
Dr Rafe de Crespigny

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About the book Romance of Three Kingdoms:

ROTK, aka Three Kingdoms, is the most popular novel in Asia. Written 600 years ago, it tells the epic of Han Dynasty in China during the 2nd and 3rd century. Sometimes I look at this old story and marvel to see it glow as the time goes by. In video games alone, I know 5 titles related to ROTK.

In paper book, I have read 3 full English translations of ROTK, of which one translation has been lost many years ago. But the other two are much more popular among readers. One is by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor, and another by Moss Roberts. I own 5 editions of Brewitt-Taylor (1925, 1929, 1959, 1985, 1995), and 3 Roberts' editions (1976, 1991, 1999). Since ROTK fans often want to purchase paper books, they email me quite frequently to ask about the info of these editions. So, I will write here the info I know about the books, hoping that it would help you select the suitable ones.

Abridge vs. Full: Regardless of edition, don't buy abridged versions of ROTK. Moss Roberts has a full version and an abridged version, and they may confuse you. When you read the cover of the book, pay attention to whether the word "abridged" is present in the cover or the publisher reviews. If it is, don't go for it. The full version is much more enjoyable.

Size of the Book: ROTK is a huge book of 120 chapters and from 1,100 to 1,700 pages (depending on paper and font sizes). So, it is published in several volumes (from 2 to 4 volumes). When you purchase the books, try to buy a complete set. ROTK is often sold in complete set, but somehow one of Brewitt-Taylor's versions is sold in separate volumes.

Moss Roberts (Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel): The English translation of ROTK by Moss Roberts is the best translation I have ever seen. It is more enjoyable than the original Chinese text, I truly agree. Here is the one reason: Professor Roberts provides us 250 extra pages of notes, which come from various sources, from both history and traditions. I have read a few original texts, and the editions I read do not give as much information. Beside notes, Professor Roberts also supplies several useful maps of battles. One advantage of this translation is that it is new, and therefore, it uses the modern Pinyin name system (names like Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Quan---those names are used in games, too). Below are the covers of different editions. The links point to the full translation, which I recommend, and you can purchase it online:
At Amazon.com (highly recommended) At bn.com

C.H. Brewitt-Taylor (Romance of Three Kingdoms): The English translation of ROTK by Brewitt-Taylor is very old. Therefore, it uses the Yale name system (names like Tsao Tsao, Liu Pei, and Sun Chuan), which is less popular today. A disadvantage of this translation is that it does not provide background information like Roberts' version. This translation is like a pure novel, from page 1 to ending page---no maps, no notes. Furthermore, it has many errors that haven't got corrected since the first edition. With so many flaws, why should the readers be interested? Well, if you collect ROTK books like I do, you may want to buy several of them. But one important thing is that the translation of Brewitt-Taylor is very beautiful in literature style. The language in this version is fluid and suitable to ROTK, perhaps partly due to its old English. Here are some of its covers (be careful, the books are sold separately in 2 volumes):

Non-English translations: Since ROTK is well-known in East Asia, it's easy to find a copy in Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. in your local bookstore. Some readers ask if there are translations in French, German, Spanish, or Russian. My answer is "Maybe there are." I have seen a French translation published by Flammarion (7 volumes). Since I don't know French, I cannot tell if it is a good translation or not. A reader (Diego Rodriguez) also told me there's a Spanish translation in Beijing (cost about US $300). Another reader (Bas Suverkropp) says there's an "abridged" German translation by Franz Kuhn. If you come across these versions or any other versions, please email me your review. Amazingly, a reader (AJ) sent me a link to an online Russian translation of ROTK History Records here.

About this web site: ThreeKingdoms.com publishes the full translation of ROTK by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor on the web free for all internet readers. We incorporate the literature style of Brewitt-Taylor, and at the same time we use the modern Pinyin name system. Moreover, we have corrected the many mistakes the paper book has. And the best thing of all, we include many notes, backgrounds, as well as maps with more details than in any ROTK book. The readers can also post their notes online! Fans often praise the Commentary of Dr. Rafe de Crespigny as the best online writing about ROTK. So, we hope you enjoy this web site. Khang Nguyen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword A few quotations from the characters in Romance of Three Kingdoms
Some great ROTK forums with galleries Comics, the-scholars.com, 3kingdoms.net
Preface by C. H. Brewitt-Taylor and Snow N. Snow
Commentary by Dr Rafe de Crespigny
Introduction Outlines of Chinese History from Mythology to the Three Kingdoms
Note History of the novel ROTK
Overture The Beginning Song
Chapter 1 Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood In The Peach Garden;
One Victory Shatters The Rebels In Battlegrounds.
Chapter 2 Zhang Fei Whips The Government Officer;
He Jin Plots To Kill The Eunuchs.
Chapter 3 In Wenming Garden, Dong Zhuo Denounces Ding Yuan;
With Red Hare, Li Su Bribes Lu Bu.
Chapter 4 Deposition Of The Emperor: The Prince Of Chenliu Gets The Throne;
Schemes Against Dong Zhuo: Cao Cao Presents A Sword.
Chapter 5 Cao Cao Appeals To The Powerful Lords;
The Three Brothers Fight Against Lu Bu.
Chapter 6 Burning The Capital, Dong Zhuo Commits An Atrocity;
Hiding The Imperial Hereditary Seal, Sun Jian Breaks Faith.
Chapter 7 Yuan Shao Fights Gongsun Zan At The River Pan;
Sun Jian Attacks Liu Biao Across The Great River.
Chapter 8 Wang Yun Prepares The Chaining Scheme;
Dong Zhuo Rages At Phoenix Pavilion.
Chapter 9 Lu Bu Kills Dong Zhuo For Wang Yun;
Li Jue Attacks The Capital On Jia Xu's Advice.
Chapter 10 Gathering Arms, Ma Teng Moves To Rescue The Emperor;
Commanding A Force, Cao Cao Marches To Avenge His Father.
Chapter 11 Liu Bei Rescues Kong Rong At Beihai;
Lu Bu Defeats Cao Cao Near Puyang.
Chapter 12 Tao Qian Thrice Offers Xuzhou To Liu Bei;
Cao Cao Retakes Yanzhou From Lu Bu.
Chapter 13 Li Jue and Guo Si Duel In Changan;
The Emperor Establishes Anyi The New Capital.
Chapter 14 Cao Cao Moves The Court To Xuchang;
Lu Bu Leads A Night Raid Against Xuzhou.
Chapter 15 Taishi Ci Fights With The Little Prince;
Sun Ce Cuts Short The White Tiger King.
Chapter 16 In The Camp Gate, Lu Bu Shoots The Halberd;
At River Yu, Cao Cao Suffers A Defeat.
Chapter 17 Yuan Shu Marches Out Seven Armies;
Cao Cao And Three Generals Join Forces.
Chapter 18 Giving Counsels, Jia Xu Directs A Great Victory;
Braving Battlefield, Xiahou Dun Loses An Eye.
Chapter 19 Cao Cao Makes Flood In Xiapi;
Lu Bu Perishes At The White Gate Tower.
Chapter 20 Cao Cao Organizes A Hunting Expedition In Xutian;
Dong Cheng Receives A Secret Command In The Palace.
Chapter 21 In A Plum Garden, Cao Cao Discusses Heroes;
Using The Host's Forces, Guan Yu Takes Xuzhou.
Chapter 22 Yuan Shao And Cao Cao Both Take The Field;
Guan Yu And Zhang Fei Captures Two Generals.
Chapter 23 Mi Heng Slips His Garment And Rails At Traitors;
Ji Ping Pledges To Kill The Prime Minister.
Chapter 24 Cao Cao Murdered The Consort Dong;
Liu Bei Flees To Yuan Shao.
Chapter 25 Besieged In Tushan, Guan Yu Makes Three Conditions;
Relieved At Baima, Cao Cao Beholds A Marvel.
Chapter 26 Yuan Shao Loses Another Leader;
Guan Yu Abandons Rank And Wealth.
Chapter 27 The Man Of Beautiful Beard Rides On A Solitary Journey;
Guan Yu Slays Six Generals Through Five Passes.
Chapter 28 Putting Cai Yang To Death, The Brothers' Doubts Disappear;
Meeting At Gucheng, Lord and Lieges Fortify Each Other.
Chapter 29 The Little Chief Of The South Slays Yu Ji;
The Green Eyed Boy Lays Hold On The South Land.
Chapter 30 Shunning Advice, Yuan Shao Loses Leaders and Granaries;
Using Strategy, Cao Cao Scores Victory At Guandu.
Chapter 31 Cao Cao Overcomes Yuan Shao In Cangting;
Liu Bei Seeks Shelter With Liu Biao In Jingzhou.
Chapter 32 Jizhou Taken: Yuan Shang Strives;
River Zhang Cut: Xun You Schemes.
Chapter 33 A Gallant Warrior, Cao Pi Marries Lady Zhen;
An Expiring Star, Guo Jia Settles Liaodong.
Chapter 34 Behind The Screen, Lady Cai Overhears A Secret;
Across The Tan Torrent, The Dilu Horse Carries Its Master.
Chapter 35 Liu Bei Meets A Recluse At Nanzhang;
Shan Fu Sees A Noble Lord At Xinye.
Chapter 36 Shan Fu's Strategy: Fankou Is Captured;
Xu Shu's Affection: Zhuge Liang Is Recommended.
Chapter 37 Sima Hui Recommends A Scholar To Liu Bei;
Liu Bei Pays Three Visits To The Sleeping Dragon Ridge.
Chapter 38 Zhuge Liang Plans For The Three Kingdoms;
Sun Quan Attacks Xiakou To Take Revenges.
Chapter 39 At Jingzhou, The Son Of Liu Biao Thrice Begs Advice;
At Bowang Slope, The Directing Instructor Plans His First Battle.
Chapter 40 Lady Cai Renounces Jingzhou;
Zhuge Liang Burns Xinye.
Chapter 41 Liu Bei Leads His People Over The River;
Zhao Zilong Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang.
Chapter 42 Screaming Zhang Fei Triumphs At Long Slope Bridge;
Defeated Liu Bei Marches To Hanjin.
Chapter 43 Zhuge Liang Disputes With The Southern Scholars;
Lu Su Denounces The Majority Opinion.
Chapter 44 Zhuge Liang Stirs Zhou Yu To Actions;
Sun Quan Decides To Attack Cao Cao.
Chapter 45 At The Three Gorges, Cao Cao Loses Soldiers;
In The Gathering Of Heroes, Jiang Gan Is Trapped.
Chapter 46 Using Strategy, Zhuge Liang Borrows Arrows;
Joining A Ruse, Huang Gai Accepts Punishment.
Chapter 47 Kan Ze Presents A Treacherous Letter;
Pang Tong Suggests Chaining The Ships.
Chapter 48 Banquet On The Great River, Cao Cao Sings A Song;
Battle On Water, Northerners Fight With Chained Ships.
Chapter 49 On Seven-Star Altar, Zhuge Liang Sacrifices To The Winds;
At Three Gorges, Zhou Yu Liberates The Fire.
Chapter 50 Zhuge Liang Foresees The Huarong Valley Episode;
Guan Yu Lifts His Saber To Release Cao Cao.
Chapter 51 Cao Ren Withstands The South Land;
Zhuge Liang Angers Zhou Yu.
Chapter 52 Zhuge Liang Negotiates With Lu Su;
Zhao Zilong Captures Guiyang.
Chapter 53 Guan Yu Releases Huang Zhong;
Sun Quan Fights With Zhang Liao.
Chapter 54 The Dowager Marchioness Sees Her Son-In-Law;
The Imperial Uncle Takes A Worthy Consort.
Chapter 55 Liu Bei Rouses The Spirit Of Lady Sun;
Zhuge Liang A Second Time Angers Zhou Yu.
Chapter 56 Cao Cao Feasts In The Bronze Bird Tower;
Zhuge Liang Provokes Zhou Yu A Third Time.
Chapter 57 Sleeping Dragon Mourns In Chaisang;
Young Phoenix Intervenes At Leiyang.
Chapter 58 Ma Chao Launches An Expedition For Revenge;
Cao Cao Flees The Field In Disguise.
Chapter 59 Xu Chu Strips For A Fight With Ma Chao;
Cao Cao Writes A Letter To Han Sui.
Chapter 60 Zhang Song Turns The Table On Yang Xiu;
Pang Tong Proposes The Occupation Of Shu.
Chapter 61 In The River, Zhao Zilong Recovers Liu Shan;
With One Letter, Sun Quan Repulses Cao Cao.
Chapter 62 The Taking Of River Fu Pass, Yang Huai and Gao Pei Perish;
The Siege Of Luocheng, Huang Zhong and Wei Yan Rival.
Chapter 63 Zhuge Liang Mourns For Pang Tong;
Zhang Fei Releases Yan Yan.
Chapter 64 Zhuge Liang Plans For The Capture Of Zhang Ren;
Yang Fu Borrows Soldiers To Destroy Ma Chao.
Chapter 65 Ma Chao Battles At Jiameng Pass;
Liu Bei Takes Over Yizhou.
Chapter 66 Armed With Sword, Guan Yu Goes To A Feast Alone;
For The State, Empress Fu Offers Her Life.
Chapter 67 Cao Cao Conquers Hanzhong;
Zhang Liao Terrorizes Xiaoyao.
Chapter 68 Gan Ning's Hundred Horsemen Raid The Northern Camp;
Zuo Ci's Flung-Down Cup Fools Cao Cao.
Chapter 69 Guan Lu Sees Things In The Book Of Changes;
Five Loyal Subjects Die For Their State.
Chapter 70 Zhang Fei Takes Wakou Pass With Tactics;
Huang Zhong Captures Tiandang Mountain By Stratagem.
Chapter 71 At Opposite Hill, Huang Zhong Scores A Success;
On The River Han, Zhao Zilong Conquers A Host.
Chapter 72 Zhuge Liang's Wit Takes Hanzhong;
Cao Cao's Army Retires To The Ye Valley.
Chapter 73 Liu Bei Becomes The Prince Of Hanzhong;
Guan Yu Marches To Attack Xiangyang.
Chapter 74 Pang De Takes His Coffin To The Field;
Guan Yu Uses Water To Drown The Seven Armies.
Chapter 75 Guan Yu Has A Scraped-Bone Surgery;
Lu Meng Crosses The River In White Robe.
Chapter 76 Xu Huang Fights At The River Mian;
Guan Yu Retreats To Maicheng.
Chapter 77 Cao Cao Is Possessed At Luoyang;
Guan Yu Manifests At The Jade Spring Mount.
Chapter 78 Treating A Headache, A Famous Physician Dies;
Giving The Last Words, The Crafty Hero Departs.
Chapter 79 Brother Oppressing Brother: Cao Zhi Composes Poems;
Nephew Harming Uncle: Liu Feng Receives Punishment.
Chapter 80 Cao Pi Deposes The Emperor, Taking Away The Fortunes of Han;
Liu Bei Assumes The Throne, Continuing The Heritage.
Chapter 81 Eager For Vengeance, Zhang Fei Is Assassinated;
Athirst Of Retribution, The First Ruler Goes To War.
Chapter 82 Sun Quan Submits To Wei, Receiving The Nine Dignities;
The First Ruler Attacks Wu, Rewarding Six Armies.
Chapter 83 Fighting At Xiaoting, The First Ruler Captures An Enemy;
Defending The Three Gorges, A Student Takes Supreme Command.
Chapter 84 Lu Xun Burns All Consecutive Camps;
Zhuge Liang Plans The Eight-Array Maze.
Chapter 85 The First Ruler Confides His Son To A Guardian;
The Prime Minister Calmly Settles Five Attacks.
Chapter 86 Using Words, Qin Mi Overcomes Zhang Wen;
Setting Fire, Xu Sheng Defeats Cao Pi.
Chapter 87 Conquering The South Mang, The Prime Minister Marches The Army;
Opposing Heaven Troops, The King Of The Mangs Is Captured.
Chapter 88 Crossing River Lu: The Mang King Is Bound The Second Time;
Recognizing A Pretend Surrender: Meng Huo Is Captured The Third Time.
Chapter 89 The Lord of Wuxiang Uses The Fourth Ruse;
The King of Mang Is Captured The Fifth Time.
Chapter 90 Chasing Off Wild Beasts, The Prime Minister Defeats The Mangs For The Sixth Time;
Burning Rattan Armors, Zhuge Liang Captures Meng Huo The Seventh Time.
Chapter 91 Sacrificing At River Lu, The Prime Minister Marches Homeward;
Attacking Wei, The Lord Of Wuxiang Presents A Memorial.
Chapter 92 Zhao Zilong Slays Five Generals;
Zhuge Liang Takes Three Cities.
Chapter 93 Jiang Wei Goes Over To Zhuge Liang;
Zhuge Liang Reviles Wang Lang.
Chapter 94 Zhuge Liang Defeats The Qiangs In A Snowstorm;
Sima Yi Captures Meng Da By A Rapid March.
Chapter 95 Ma Su's Disobedience Causes The Loss Of Jieting;
Zhuge Liang's Lute Repulses The Army Of Sima Yi.
Chapter 96 Shedding Tears, Zhuge Liang Puts Ma Su To Death;
Cutting Hair, Zhou Fang Beguiles Cao Xiu.
Chapter 97 Sending A Second Memorial, Zhuge Liang Renews The Attack On Wei;
Forging A Letter, Jiang Wei Defeats The Northern Army.
Chapter 98 Pursuing The Shu Army, Wang Shuang Meets His Death;
Raiding Chencang, Zhuge Liang Scores A Victory.
Chapter 99 Zhuge Liang Defeats The Wei Army;
Sima Yi Invades The West River Land.
Chapter 100 Raiding A Camp, The Shu Soldiers Defeat Cao Zhen;
Contesting Array Battles, Zhuge Liang Shames Sima Yi.
Chapter 101 Going Out From Longshang, Zhuge Liang Dresses As A God;
Dashing Toward Saber Pass, Zhang He Falls Into A Snare.
Chapter 102 Sima Yi Occupies The Banks Of River Wei;
Zhuge Liang Constructs Mechanical Bullocks And Horses.
Chapter 103 In Gourd Valley, Sima Yi Is Trapped;
In Wuzhang Hills, Zhuge Liang Invokes The Stars.
Chapter 104 A Falling Star: The Prime Minister Ascends To Heaven;
A Wooden Statue: The Commander-In-Chief Is Terrified.
Chapter 105 The Lord of Wuxiang Leaves A Plan In The Silken Bag;
The Ruler of Wei Removes The Bronze Statue With The Dew Bowl.
Chapter 106 Suffering Defeat, Gongsun Yuan Meets His Death;
Pretending Illness, Sima Yi Deceives Cao Shuang.
Chapter 107 The Ruler of Wei Hands Over The Power To Sima Yi;
Jiang Wei Is Defeated At Ox Head Hills.
Chapter 108 In The Snow, Ding Feng Wins A Victory;
At A Banquet, Sun Jun Executes A Secret Plan.
Chapter 109 A Ruse Of A Han General: Sima Zhao Is Surrounded;
Retribution For The House Of Wei: Cao Fang Is Dethroned.
Chapter 110 Riding Alone, Wen Yang Repulses A Brave Force;
Following The River, Jiang Wei Defeats The Enemy.
Chapter 111 Deng Ai Outwits Jiang Wei;
Zhuge Dan Battles Sima Zhao.
Chapter 112 Rescuing Shouchun, Yu Quan Dies Nobly;
Attacking Changcheng, Jiang Wei Mobilizes.
Chapter 113 Ding Feng Makes A Plan To Slay Sun Chen;
Jiang Wei Arrays A Battle To Defeat Deng Ai.
Chapter 114 Driving To The South Gate, Cao Mao Plunges Into Death;
Abandoning Stores, Jiang Wei Defeats The Wei Army.
Chapter 115 Listening To Slander, The Latter Ruler Recalls His Army;
Living In Farms, Jiang Wei Avoids Disaster.
Chapter 116 On Hanzhong Roads, Zhong Hui Divides The Army;
In Dingjun Mountain, The Martial Lord Shows His Apparition.
Chapter 117 Deng Ai Gets Through The Yinping Mountains;
Zhuge Zhan Falls In The Battlefield Of Mianzhu.
Chapter 118 Weeping At The Ancestral Temple, A Filial Prince Dies;
Marching To The West River Land, Two Leaders Competes.
Chapter 119 The False Surrender: A Wit Scheme Becomes A Vain Plan;
The Abdication: Later Seeds Learn From The Ancient.
Chapter 120 Recommending Du Yu, An Old General Offers New Plans;
Capturing Of Sun Hao, Three Kingdoms Becomes One.

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